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Title: Citizenship at the intersections : caste, class and gender in India
Author: Herbert, Sruthi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 0610
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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This research is an empirical investigation into the experience of citizenship at the intersections of social inequalities in India: caste, class and gender. Through the working of the state in one ward of a panchayat in Kerala, South India, I try to understand how social inequalities influence the practice of citizenship, with particular focus on the Marshallian social citizenship. Mixed methodologies, including ethnography, and quantitative data collection were employed. Since Kerala is often seen as an exception in India due to its remarkably high Human Development Index (HDI), and also in development discourses due to its radical communist mobilizations and democratic decentralization, this work has wider relevance to development debates. The key argument made is that social citizenship rights are not upheld in the local state bodies, whose working often contradicts constitutional provisions for group-differentiated citizenship rights. This is illustrated by several simultaneous outcomes of state working in the field site: a geography of caste evidenced locally, caste-gendered ordering of public spaces, the seamlessness between the personal and the political for the elite, and disempowering discourses facilitated through state bodies. The framework within which the state operates, I argue, is patriarchal, upholding upper caste interests. I also show that academic conceptualization of intersections, in limiting caste to SC/Dalits and focusing on Dalit patriarchy, do not sufficiently address the graded nature of caste inequalities and patriarchal relations embedded within them. I propose that caste-gender roles need to be examined in more detail. This work also argues that caste is not static, and reconfigures itself while upholding endogamy. All of this impact the experience of citizenship. This work shows that structural inequalities need to be accounted for while empirically examining citizenship gains, and that for newly formed states, social citizenship rights is an ideal worth aspiring for. In offering a new lens to view Kerala's claims of development, this work points to lacunae in the conceptualization of development not just in Kerala, but also in India where the structural nature of caste is not acknowledged.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral